Sales receipt redesign

Design firm Berg rethinks the everyday sales receipt under the premise that registers nowadays are connected to a central system, which has access to data about sales, food, etc.

We looked at turning the receipt from a rarely examined item typically hidden away in wallets and purses into something useful and, we hope, a little delightful. We wanted to do this without changing the print methods or technology behind it, while exploring the underused aspects of the existing technology.

The result looks like a cutout from a magazine with snippets of information about food items purchased such as when items typically sell out and calorie count.

Of course from a practical point of view the redesign doesn’t work as a receipt anymore. It tries so hard to be a reading snack that you can scan over a cup of coffee that you don’t even get the main thing that you want out of a receipt. You buy something, you look at the total on your receipt, and if it looks wrong you scan the list of items top to bottom for mistakes.

Maybe it’d work on the back of the receipt though (if the tech allowed for it), since not many people pay attention to the ads and random coupons.

Can you think of ways the standard sales receipt could be improved?

[Icon Magazine via infosthetics]


  • Did you see Receipt Stories?
    The BookXcess bookshop in Singapore invites customers to send in a story (up to 100 words) and they print what’s submitted on receipts. They say it’s a way to encourage people to read and write more.
    It’s a nice idea, but most of the stories I’ve read are rather dull. Which rather defeats the purpose.

  • The receipt looks pretty nice. But in my opinion it consumes quite a lot of space (length) for only two items, so I would really like to see one with a family’s weekend purchase on it.

  • #1 – ensure thermal receipts do not fade over time. That’d be a good start…

  • While the design is new and aesthetic, I’m not sure that it’s much of a rethinking of the receipt concept–at least two years ago, I remember Silvergreens using receipts to deliver both nutrition information about your purchase on the front and coupons and advertising on the back. Read their case study here:

  • Ideally we’d have the choice of the receipts being emailed to us in a machine-readable format which we could forward on to a online service of our choice that could keep track of nutritional information and present to us in an attractive way hourly, daily, weekly or whatever time period we want to see the nutritional information over — the model of allowing email receipts is the wave of the future (with near-field-radios in smartphones, it wouldn’t even have to be emailed..)

  • Steve Deal July 5, 2011 at 6:21 am

    It would be interesting to provide a pie chart that aligns with the food plate from your recent post, so consumers could see how much they were spending on items outside the food group. Non-food items could be pulled out as a separate category. I remember talking with my wife about how many of our “grocery” purchases were not groceries at all. Then for the non-nutritional items (soda, candy, etc) put in a graphic showing how far you’d have to walk or run (hours on a treadmill) to work off the calories. Also, if you could have an app that read your food allergies into the register, the receipt could also provide alerts to items you’d inadvertently missed in your screening.

    Probably none of these would be acceptable to grocery stores, but they strike me as useful information.

  • one of the big challenges with receipt design is the printer technology. It’s extremely bare-bones. To do a beautifully designed receipt you need to generate a raster image and scale it to the width of a given device from a given manufacturer and then print. Even then it’s generally very low fidelity. Most importantly, it’s very hard to allow individual clients of a given POS system the ability to customize much about the receipt format as it’s very easy to break the design with even a single extra character.

    We’re working on a POS system with a partner now and the limitations in the receipt department are very frustrating.

  • Check out this restaurant in NYC

    They have put the calories and fat count for your entire order on the receipt.

    Very cool.

    Shaun Dakin

  • My family buys the same convoluted order at In-N-Out burger. In the same vein as the barcode scanner app on the iPhone, I would love to have the receipt carry a barcode at the bottom. This barcode would be the order and next time I ordered food I could just give the old receipt back. They would scan it, and voila! our convoluted order would pop up. Order done.

  • Wayne Conrad July 5, 2011 at 11:34 am

    A triumph of form over function? But Darin’s idea has merit.

  • What about including a QR code that links to a temporary (7 days?) link containing all the data on the receipt in a downloadable format (qif, ofx, csv or pdf)? I can track how much I spend at a particular store but I have no way of tracking how many and how often I buy a particular item, short of entering it manually on a spreadsheet. In my ideal world, Mint would then add a feature to track individual items and spit out colorful charts for me to marvel over…

    • I was going to say the same. A QR code would be less distracting, take up a determined space, and could link to either a temporary content or to the up-to-date page on “coffee” or the specific item…

  • I’d like to add the detailed receipt electronically to my credit card account in a searchable and addable format i.e. not just pdf. The only time I want a receipt is when I want to return something and half the time I can never find the receipt when I need it. This way when I want to find a receipt, I don’t go searching the bottomless bin in my office, but just go online, find the retailer, or the date, or the item and print only what I need. Allows tracking of purchases by type or retailer, or downloading into a financial program like Quicken. Supports budgeting (for those so inclined). Saves paper. More convenient.

    • @Julia, qif / ofx formats are designed to be loaded into Quicken / Microsoft Money-like software.

  • But this design is still no easier to read.
    And what would it look like with 50+ wares on there?

    Sorry but from what I’ve seen this is a really bad design.